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3 a.m.

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Small orchestra: 2,2,2,1 - 2,0,0 - percussion, timps and strings. 

This is about London's Soho from maybe 50 years ago, not the neon dazzle of Windmill Street but the back streets, the places of shady deals and furtive encounters. You try not to be too visible as you make your way to Wardour Street. There's always a club or bar with steamy windows oozing music out into the street or a girl or two languishing against lampposts still hoping for business, or two guys in fretful argument.... I can only imagine it of that time but it still seemed much the same when I visited a decade ago as the descriptions.

This piece tried to catch my feel for the place at 3 o'clock in the morning.

Written in 2019 I revised the time signatures last night. There are things about the score than bother me.

I scored it for 2 flutes + picc but the piccolo could be played by flute 2 it seems.

The flutes give an outburst in bars 14 / 15 but I wonder if they'd be too weak to deal with the forte in bar 15. I don't want to give the lower part to an oboe. Clarinet 2 is a possible reinforcement as Cl 1 is doing a solo.

I've taken the horns very low a couple of times. Bar 72. (The sample player lets me do it but I doubt it's playable in real life!)  EDIT: Is there a horn player here willing to give an opinion? If so, thank you.

So any comments would be gratefully received and thank you if you can afford the time to listen. Pull the score to pieces by all means!



Edited by Quinn
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I am a horn player and I do believe that what you have written in bar 72 is playable as written for F Horn without using any pedal tones (with almost all valves pressed down for the G - the limit on the F side is an F# below that).  Also - isn't Bass Clarinet supposed to be written in treble clef just like the Bb Sopranino Clarinet but sounding an octave lower?

I always get the impression that I'm listening to film music with your pieces.  I like your inclusion of Saxophone and all the realistic inflections you give it.  I think I would like your music more if you occasionally built some kind of repeating ostinato into your music to give the ear a break from the very rhythmically fluid texture of most of your music.  Thanks for sharing!

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Many thanks for listening and your comments - always appreciated. 

I suppose impressionism does tangentially equate with film music these days. Shouldn't be confused with film's incidental music though which is usually pretty trite. Originally it was pre-cinema. Although many people rely on screens now the musically inspired listener can flex their imagination. It's me. I'm no fan of fiction film unless it's without music just as I'd sooner read a book than watch a film adaptation. 

Having said that, I'd have loved to have had a camcorder with me but a) it would be unwise in such an area! and b) the low light would lift the noise level to make the picture too grainy. Nowadays, a phone could do the job.

Through-composing can be an issue for those more acquainted with formal structure and tune. Otherwise how much can one develop a motif/theme before it imposes an unwanted structure? I can write theme based, rhythmically constant music but it usually ends up as light music. Perhaps I should write more of that and stop listening to so much Villa-Lobos (non-Bach-inspired pieces). 

Again, thanks for listening and commentary and particularly your advice re the Horn.



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What a great score for a "Film Noir".  You create a interesting tonal fabric/texture  ... the Sax is perfect!  The orchestration is light, facile, and full.  A pleasure to listen to - 3 A.M. it is .................. be careful don't walk those dark alley ways at night!


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